The Yankees still have to pay $6 million to 38-year-old veteran in 2024

josh donaldson, yankees
Jun 11, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson (28) reacts after hitting a deep fly ball for an out against the Boston Red Sox during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The trade that New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman orchestrated with the Minnesota Twins in 2022 continues to have repercussions. This acquisition, involving players like Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Ben Rortvedt, came with its share of concerns. Here’s an in-depth analysis of the deal’s effects on the Yankees’ system, the albatross contract, and the ramifications for future seasons.

The Deal’s Components: Players and Contracts

The acquisition brought some prominent players into the Yankees’ system but also came with significant financial implications.

Josh Donaldson

Josh Donaldson’s contract is particularly concerning, with $50 million owed across two seasons, plus a $6 million vesting option for the 2024 season. This means the Yankees will continue to pay Donaldson even if he leaves or retires, a lasting financial burden.

This season, Donaldson’s performance has been lackluster. With a batting average of .142, a .225 OBP, 10 home runs, and 15 RBIs, he’s been a disappointment compared to his 2022 campaign. With a 97 wRC+, fans had every right to be skeptical about his future contributions, and they were spot on as he floundered in 2023. .

Isiah Kiner-Falefa

On a more positive note, Isiah Kiner-Falefa (IKF) has been a decent utility piece, even if his offensive metrics remain below average. His contribution to the outfield has been a bright spot, leading to speculation about a possible return on a budget-friendly contract.

Ben Rortvedt

While not the central figure in this deal, Ben Rortvedt’s presence adds depth to the trade’s impact, though his role is far less cemented and could end up amounting to nothing as a reserve catcher.

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Contract Concerns and Future Ramifications

Only eight players on the Yankees’ roster are earning money before arbitration next season, and Donaldson’s deal overshadows even Tommy Kahnle’s recent two-year contract. The Donaldson contract looms large, with concerns about how it will affect other financial decisions.

Retrospective Analysis: Assessing the Trade

Looking back, the entire deal with the Minnesota Twins seems regrettable. While IKF has been valuable, the contract obligations, particularly those tied to Donaldson, have soured the transaction.

The Yankees’ Path Forward

With questions raised about the Yankees’ decision-making regarding their starting lineup and Donaldson’s continuous opportunities over players with higher potential, such as Oswald Peraza, the 2022 deal remains a controversial topic.

The certainty is that Donaldson’s time with the Yankees appears to be at an end, but his contract’s financial burden will linger. Cashman’s decision to pay $6 million for Donaldson’s potential retirement serves as a reminder of the complexities of MLB trades and the thin line between success and failure.

Just imagine what the team could’ve done with $6 million additional dollars next off-season, especially with Hal Steinbrenner seamingly pinching pennies at the deadline.